John Dance

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Football fans in the region may question his ability to run one of their beloved football teams but investors are gradually gaining confidence in Mike Ashley’s skills when it comes to his business empire, Sports Direct.

A raft of PR disasters after flotation in 2007 saw shares in the sports chain collapse by nearly 90% of their value by the end of the following year.

Those who took the plunge then though have been well rewarded, as the shares have risen nearly 8 fold since, and will have benefited further today as they gained another 4%. Sports Direct closed 9.2p higher at 242.5p, driven by renewed optimism in the sector with rival retailer JD Sports Fashion gaining 6.5% to close 60p higher itself.

Equity markets struggled for direction during most of the day, the brakes being applied somewhat following a week’s worth of consecutive daily gains. Although trading in neutral territory for the main part, the UK performed slightly better than its international peers with the FTSE 100 closing 6.5 points higher at 6024, buoyed by data that growth in the important service sector during June was greater than forecast. Meanwhile US markets were marginally lower by the time London closed, Germany was flat, and France’s CAC 40 index was half a percent lower.

Gold and silver were both in favour again having been quiet of late, Gold higher by 1% and Silver by 2.5%. Oil continued to creep higher, another 1.5% better at $113, having been as low as $106 ten days ago.

Benefitting from both a rising oil price and a stellar first half trading update were shares in Tullow Oil, which topped the FTSE 100 leader board with a 3.8% rise of 48p to 1301p.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Dance .

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